Featured Chess Sets 2018

Through the Featured Chess Set project, the World Chess Hall of Fame showcases a variety of chess sets throughout the year. These include highlights from the institution’s collection as well as chess sets owned by Saint Louis metropolitan area friends and chess lovers who have special stories to accompany their sets.

Do you live in the Saint Louis metropolitan area and have a chess set with a great story? Submit it for inclusion in our Featured Chess Set project! This program highlights chess sets with interesting backgrounds borrowed from chess lovers and fans of the Hall of Fame. Featured chess sets are displayed for a period of one month at the World Chess Hall of Fame.

If you would like to participate in the program, send a photo and the story of the set to Emily Allred, Assistant Curator, at emily.allred@worldchesshof.org.

January

January’s Featured Chess Set is part of the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF). Since its creation in 1986, the WCHOF has endeavored to highlight the history and cultural significance of the game of chess. The WCHOF’s collection is diverse and includes sets once owned by legendary players, mass-produced sets with lively pop culture themes, antique ivory sets, travel sets, as well as chess computers. Through these artifacts, the WCHOF illustrates how chess has evolved through its over 1500-year history.

NHL Collectors Edition Chess Set, 2003

USAopoly

NHL Collectors Edition Chess Set

2003

King size: 3 3⁄16 in.

Board: 20 x 14 7⁄8 in. 

Plastic and cardboard

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

In the NHL Collectors Edition Chess Set, a hockey rink serves as the board for a unique chess set depicting hockey players, coaches, and referees. The set celebrates the National Hockey League (NHL), which was founded in 1917. At the time of its founding, the league only had five teams, but has since expanded to 31. Saint Louis, the location of the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF), gained the Blues in 1967, when the league embarked on the largest expansion in the history of professional sports, doubling the number of teams from six to 12. In 1994, hockey became the official winter sport of Canada. This is one of a number of sports-themed chess sets in the collection of the WCHOF.

February

Since its creation in 1986, the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) has endeavored to highlight the history and cultural significance of the game of chess. The WCHOF’s collection includes a diverse array of chess sets, as well as many chess-themed objects like advertisements, barware, and home decor. This chess-themed lipstick was selected for display in connection with the WCHOF’s current exhibition PINNED! A Designer Chess Challenge, which displays chess-inspired fashion created by the inaugural class of the Saint Louis Fashion Incubator. Through these artifacts, the WCHOF illustrates how chess has evolved through its over 1500-year history and how it is perceived in popular culture.

Lipstick Queen, Lipstick Chess, 2017

Lipstick Queen

Lipstick Chess

2017

Lipstick tube: 2 ⅝ in.

Box: 2 ¾ x ¾ x ¾ in.

Matte lipstick and cardboard box

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Purling London

 

Luxury Chess Board

Date unknown

17 ⅝ x 17 ⅝ in.

Wood

Courtesy of Q Boutique

Unable to find matte lipstick in the 1940s-inspired colors she admired, Poppy King created her first brand of lipstick when she was 18 years old. She would later go on to found Lipstick Queen, the company that produces this chess-inspired line. Among the shades are Dashing Mocha Knight, Determined Mauve Bishop, and Ruby Red Queen. King visited the Chess Forum, a shop and game parlor in New York, to learn about chess while developing her chess-themed collection. Purling London, a producer of luxury chess sets, made the chessboard on which the lipstick is displayed.

March

March’s Featured Chess Set is part of the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF). Since its creation in 1986, the WCHOF has endeavored to highlight the history and cultural significance of the game of chess. The WCHOF’s collection is diverse and includes sets once owned by legendary players, mass-produced sets with lively pop culture themes, antique ivory sets, travel sets, as well as chess computers. Through these artifacts, the WCHOF illustrates how chess has evolved through its over 1500-year history.

Good Luck Brand Travel Chess Set

J.S.N.Y. (Jeffrey Snyder New York)

Good Luck Brand Travel Chess Set

c. 1970s

King size: 9/16 in.

Case: 4 ½ x 4 x 4 11/16 in.

Plastic

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Created to be used while on the go, this diminutive chess set is contained in a carrying case decorated with a shamrock. The red and white pieces have pegs on their bases and the board has corresponding holes, which keep the pieces in place during play. The pieces are miniature versions of Staunton style pieces, the familiar style of chess set used for tournament play. The history of these sets will be examined in an upcoming World Chess Hall of Fame exhibition titled The Staunton Standard: Evolution of the Modern Chess Set, which will open on April 12, 2018.

April

April’s Featured Chess Set is part of the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF). Since its creation in 1986, the WCHOF has endeavored to highlight the history and cultural significance of the game of chess. The WCHOF’s collection is diverse and includes sets once owned by legendary players, mass-produced sets with lively pop culture themes, antique ivory sets, travel sets, as well as chess computers. Through these artifacts, the WCHOF illustrates how chess has evolved through its over 1500-year history. April’s Featured Set is on view in connection with The Sinquefield Effect: The Resurgence of American Chess, which celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Saint Louis Chess Club.

The James Game Chess Set and Board, 2010

The James Game Chess Set and Board

2010

King size: 3 ¼ in.

Board: 21 x 21 in.

Wood

Collection of the Saint Louis Chess Club

This board is inscribed in honor of James “The James Game” Miller and is usually available for play at the Saint Louis Chess Club (STLCC). Miller, who passed away in 2010, was more than just a regular at the STLCC. His outgoing personality and friendly demeanor made him an easily approachable opponent and a joy to play against. James had the ability to make you smile whether you were winning or losing, and his one-liners were a constant source of amusement for members and staff alike. With his death, the Chess Club lost not just one of their most loyal members, but also a part of our family.

The unique brand of chess he brought to the Club on a daily basis earned him the nickname, “The James Game,” characterized by his uncharacteristic openings that could, at times, stymie his opponents. He liked the idea of forcing people out of their element by presenting them with challenging and unfamiliar positions. His upbeat personality and cheery disposition were infectious. James had the ability to brighten the room when he would walk in, and his presence at the Club is sorely missed.

May

May’s Featured Set is on loan to the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) from Duncan Pohl. Pohl is the author of Vintage Chess Sets of the United States, which includes extensive research about a wide variety of American chess sets and the companies that created them. Pohl is a lender to the WCHOF’s current exhibition The Staunton Standard: Evolution of the Modern Chess Set. The exhibition includes Staunton-style and Staunton chessmen from 1849 to the present day.

Duncan Pohl Set

Hasbro Industries

Hasbro Design East Chess Set

c. 1968-85

King size: 2 3/16 in.

Board: 1 ¾ x 11 ½ x 11 ½ in.

Plastic and cardboard

Collection of Duncan Pohl

Simplified silhouettes of Staunton chessmen appear to float on clear plastic pieces in this inventive set. Hasbro’s advertising hailed the set as “The Game of ages! But in a design no older than ‘now’. This Mars-like planetary set reveres the tradition; has all ‘men’ in one shape, opponent colors identify the pieces. Men are prismatic. A really new interpretation of chessmen—for collector and beginner alike.” The board has alternating brown and blue squares decorated with heraldic symbols: fleur de lis and lions standing on their hind legs. Hasbro, the world’s largest toy manufacturer, created the set.

June

Since its creation in 1986, the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) has endeavored to highlight the history and cultural significance of the game of chess. The WCHOF’s collection is diverse and includes sets once owned by legendary players, mass-produced sets with lively pop culture themes, antique ivory sets, travel sets, as well as chess computers. Through these artifacts, the WCHOF illustrates how chess has evolved through its over 1500-year history.

Hand-Carved Wooden Chess Set, 1968

Taiwan

Hand-carved Wooden Chess Set

1968

King size: 5 in.

Board: 2 5⁄8 x 18 x 18 in.

Wood

Collection of the Senger Family

June’s Featured Chess Set is on loan to the World Chess Hall of Fame from the Senger family. Andrew Senger received this hand carved chess set as a gift from his grandfather, who had purchased it while stationed at CCK Air Force Base in Taiwan. The set includes pagodas, or tiered towers, as rooks and dragons as the knights. The pawns are individualized, each in a different pose and holding a different instrument.

Check back next month for a new featured chess set!